The Hlinka Memorial Cup U18 tournament means the start of a new scouting season. With only three days left before the puck drops in Breclav and Bratislava it is time to set where we are at ahead of the first games of the 2017 Draft season, as they will bring a ton of new inputs into the evaluation of the 1999 class.
The ranking that follows is the result of the scouting we did in Europe throughout last season and only pertains to prospects who have been playing for European clubs in 2015/16 (which means players like Valimaki, Tolvanen and N.A. Popugayev do not get considered here).
However, to put things in perspective, we added an overall ranking appraisal. Even if we focus on prospects in Europe, we still have a grasp of how good the draft is supposed to be overall. At this stage, this year's North American crop seems to be a bit weaker than usual, allowing for more Europeans to potentially make their way into the 1st Round.
Still, this should not be confused with a prediction. This is nothing like a Mock Draft, and the Overall Rank Projection column is just an indicator of where we currently feel these players belong overall. Should they confirm what we have seen so far, that's the range where we would recommend drafting them, which is different from suggesting where they'll eventually get drafted.
We think these players have shown the potential to be there for us next June, no matter where they are currently ranked by other resources.
Obviously, like everyone else, we'll get a better handle as the season progresses and things will inevitably change, but here come our pre-Hlinka rankings for the 2017 Draft (which by the way are the first ever rankings we release as an independent source, under the "Draftin Europe" mark).
Ov. Rank Projection
|1.||Timothy Liljegren||D||SWE||top 5|
|2.||Nico Hischier||C||SUI||top 5|
|3.||Elias Pettersson||C/W||SWE||top 5|
|4.||Klim Kostin||RW||RUS||top 15|
|5.||Marcus Davidsson||C||SWE||mid 1st|
|6.||Dmitri Samorukov||D||RUS||mid 1st|
|7.||Urho Vaakanainen||D||FIN||mid 1st|
|8.||Kristian Vesalainen||LW||FIN||1st round|
|9.||Lias Andersson||C/W||SWE||1st round|
|10.||Daniil Tarasov||G||RUS||1st round|
|11.||Henri Jokiharju||D||FIN||late 1st|
|12.||Martin Necas||C||CZE||late 1st|
|13.||Adam Ruzicka||C/W||SVK||late 1st|
|14.||Ukko-P. Luukkonen||G||FIN||early 2nd|
|15.||Miro Heiskanen||D||FIN||early 2nd|
|16.||Lukas Elvenes||RW||SWE||early 2nd|
|17.||Robin Salo||D||FIN||2nd round|
|18.||Fabian Zetterlund||RW||SWE||2nd round|
|19.||Jesper Boqvist||C/W||SWE||2nd round|
|20.||Maxim Zhukov||G||RUS||late 2nd|